Claims of torture and abuse by members of the Palestinian security forces are not new. There has, however, been a sharp rise in reported cases, leading Human Rights Watch to remark last month that “reports of torture by Palestinian security forces keep rolling in”. The New York-based organisation also bemoaned the “rampant impunity” of officers allegedly involved in the abuses.Hmmm. It seems that Israel and the West are still at the bottom of this problem. By the way, can we have a report about how Hamas deals with its opponents in Gaza?
Many analysts and observers fear that life in the west Bank is taking on an increasingly authoritarian hue. “I feel real concern that we are reaching the level of a police state,” says Shawan Jabarin, the director of al-Haq, a Ramallah-based human rights group.
It is a concern shared by Randa Siniora, the director of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, the ombudsman responsible for processing complaints against Palestinian officials. Her commission received more complaints about torture in the west Bank in October than in any month since mid- 2009. “We are looking at a very gloomy situation,” she said. “I am afraid that this [problem of torture and abuse] will become systematic.”
Groups such as al-Haq, which once only documented human rights abuses by Israeli authorities, say they are spending an increasing amount of time on cases in which Palestinians abuse their fellow countrymen.
The deterioration is linked closely to a crackdown on Islamist activists and sympathisers after a deadly attack on Jewish West Bank settlers by Hamas gunmen in August. In an attempt to counter the renewed threat from Hamas, and keen to prove the PA capable of dealing forcefully with its rival, the authority’s General Intelligence and Preventive Security units rounded up more than 700 suspects.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Well, I am shocked
Not all is well in the West Bank, run by the supposedly West-friendly Palestinian Authority (not even Hamas) that is heavily reliant on American and generally Western money. According to the Financial Times allegations of torture have increased recently. This information comes from apparently independent Palestinian human rights organizations and - shock, horror - do not apply to the dastardly IDF.